Chapter 3

Working with Capacitors


check Digging in to the mysteries of capacitors

check Learning about the measurements used with capacitors

check Calculating important capacitor numbers

check Building some basic capacitor circuits

My favorite science fiction gadget is the device invented by Doc Brown in Back to the Future, which enabled him send his friend Marty McFly back to 1955: the flux capacitor. Doc Brown’s famous flux capacitor was able to convert 1.21 gigawatts of power into a distortion in the space-time continuum to alter the course of history.

In this chapter, you can examine ordinary capacitors, the little brothers of the fictitious flux capacitor. Although a time-travelling flux capacitor would be pretty useful if such a thing existed, real capacitors do exist, and are incredibly useful. In fact, capacitors are among the most useful of all electronic components. You’ll find one or more capacitors in almost every circuit you build.

What Is a Capacitor?

To begin to understand what a capacitor is, consider this question: What makes current flow within a conductor? You may ...

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